The Oakland University women’s basketball team (5-3) was defeated by Michigan State University (8-0) 75-43 at the Athletics Center O’rena on Wednesday night.
Junior guard Victoria Lipscomb led the Grizzlies with 11 points. Freshman guard Elena Popkey finished with 9 points and 5 rebounds.
“I think Michigan State had a really nice inside-out game, the best we’ve seen all year,” Head Coach Beckie Francis said. “I told them this is why we schedule tough non-league teams, to see what our weaknesses are so we can prepare for conference play.”
Michigan State came into Wednesday’s game with a 7-0 record for just the second time in their program’s history. They looked like an undefeated team early, jumping out to a 7-2 lead and stifling Oakland’s offense.
Oakland started the game ranked 11th in the nation in three-point field goal percentage. They were uncharacteristically quiet in the first half, shooting just 1-8 beyond the arc.
“I think it was almost another level of defense than what we’ve seen this season,” Lipscomb said. “The one pro you can take from it is we know what we have to work on. Some of our shots were there, we just kind of hesitated a little bit.”
Whenever Oakland looked like they were getting themselves back in the game, Michigan State held them off. The Spartans went on an 11-0 run, extending their lead to 30-16 toward the end of the first half.
“Becca Mills and (Jasmine) Hines were unbelievable shooting on the block,” Francis said. “We didn’t really have an answer for that.”
Michigan State picked up where they left off in the second half. The Spartans shot 72 percent which included a 23-5 run. The Grizzlies shot 35 percent in the second half and never quite found their rhythm.
Oakland was out rebounded 43-20. Offensively, Michigan State recorded nine rebounds while Oakland had four.
“We were down by 14 with 10 minutes to go and they got three or four consecutive offensive rebounds and that size was the difference,” Francis said. “We came back and every time we held them, they got an O-board. So that hurt us.”
Throughout the game, the Grizzlies players were motivated by the largest crowd in Oakland women’s basketball history. With an attendance of 2,635, it was a feeling the team wants to feel down the stretch.
“I hope we have crowds close to that size for the rest of the season,” Lipscomb said. “We’re a really good team and I think that (with) the university and the students, it’s going to be a good show for them to come out to.”
Despite trailing for the whole game, the players used the crowd size to their advantage.
“It was like a 6th man to us,” Popkey said. “It’s great to have that support. When you’re down it helps you get up and when you’re up it helps you stay up.”
Oakland goes on the road to play Manhattan Dec. 8. They return home against Purdue Dec. 16 at 3 pm at the O’rena.